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Friday, Feb. 17, 2012

Lin powers Knicks to 7th straight win


NEW YORK — Not needed to save the Knicks again, Jeremy Lin grabbed a spot on the bench next to Carmelo Anthony in the third quarter and shared a laugh with the injured All-Star.

News photo
Juggernaut continues: New York's Jeremy Lin drives past Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins for a layup in the second half on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks beat the Kings 100-85 for their seventh straight victory. AP

"We were just having fun and kind of talking about how we're both excited for when he comes back," Lin said.

Hey 'Melo, no need to rush. Lin and the Knicks just keep on winning.

Lin put aside his record-setting scoring to hand out a career-best 13 assists, and New York got back to .500 with its seventh straight victory, 100-85 over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Lin added 10 points, focusing more on his role as a distributor while others torched the Kings for 51 percent shooting. Landry Fields had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Bill Walker and Steve Novak each chipped in 14 points as the Knicks put seven players in double figures for the first time since April 5, 2009, at Toronto.

"As a point guard, my field goal attempts have been really high and I don't think that's necessarily good," Lin said. "I think it's more of my job to distribute and get people in rhythm."

Lin scored 136 points in his first five starts, most by any NBA player since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976. His 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left Tuesday allowed the Knicks to pull out a 90-87 victory in a game they trailed nearly the whole way.

The Knicks (15-15) led this one almost throughout, evening their record for the first time since they were 6-6 after a loss to Oklahoma City on Jan. 14. They host hapless New Orleans on Friday, hoping Anthony will return from a strained right groin.

Lin, the reigning Eastern Conference player of the week, played 26 minutes before checking out for good late in the third quarter.

"We wanted to be aggressive, make it hard for (Lin), but he still ran the team and got assists," Sacramento's Tyreke Evans said. "They made shots. It seemed like they were making everything tonight."

Evans scored 19 points for the Kings, who had won four in a row in New York. DeMarcus Cousins added 15 but shot only 7 of 18 and grabbed just four rebounds.

Already the NBA's biggest story, Linsanity had peaked about 24 hours earlier with the former Harvard guard's winner in Toronto. The shot was replayed on the overhead video board at the Garden, triggering a huge ovation as if it had just happened live.

But Lin would have few other scoring highlights, taking only six shots.

Fans, quite a few wearing Lin's jerseys or holding masks of his face, loved it anyway. They chanted "MVP! MVP!" as he was interviewed on the court after the game and held up signs such as "Lin Your Face," "Linderella," and — of course — "Marry Me Jeremy."

"It's crazy. Thank you for the energy as always," he said to the crowd.

Then he was peppered with an array of questions usually reserved for superstars, from his thoughts about President Barack Obama watching him, to whether it was time to get a new haircut.

But for Lin, the only focus is basketball.

"I knew him before he was Linmania. He's still the same humble guy," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "The guy has not changed a bit, which is real special for a young man."

Lin played last season in Golden State for Smart, who praised Lin's work ethic and attitude, but never imagined "the perfect storm" that would lead to these results.

"It's good Monday morning quarterbacks are here now, but no one could have predicted this guy being this big in this place here," Smart said before the game.

Spurs 113, Raptors 106

In Toronto, Tony Parker had 34 points and 14 assists, and San Antonio beat the Raptors to extend its season-best winning streak to nine games.

Rockets 96, Thunder 95

In Houston, Kevin Martin tied a season high with 32 points, including the winning free throws with 23.6 seconds remaining.

Clippers 102, Wizards 84

In Los Angeles, Blake Griffin had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Caron Butler added 21 points and Randy Foye scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter against his former team.

Magic 103, 76ers 87

In Orlando, Ryan Anderson had seven 3-pointers and 27 points, and Dwight Howard added 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Mavericks 102, Nuggets 84

In Dallas, Shawn Marion had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and the Mavericks beat Denver to stretch their winning streak to a season-high five games.

Cavaliers 98, Pacers 87

In Cleveland, rookie Kyrie Irving scored 22 points in his return after missing three games because of a concussion.

Pistons 98, Celtics 88

In Boston, Rodney Stuckey scored 25 points and Ben Gordon hit three 3-pointers in the opening 4:09 of the fourth quarter during a game-breaking spree.

Timberwolves 102, Bobcats 90

In Minneapolis, Kevin Love had 30 points and 18 rebounds and Minnesota handed Charlotte its 16th loss in a row.

Grizzlies 105, Nets 100

In Newark, New Jersey, Rudy Gay scored 25 points, Tony Allen matched his season high with 21, and Marreese Speights added a season-high 20 points and a career-high 18 rebounds.

Trail Blazers 93, Warriors 91

In Oakland, Gerald Wallace scored 24 points and Jamal Crawford hit a key late 3-pointer and two clutch free throws.

Hawks 101, Suns 99

In Phoenix, Josh Smith matched his season high with 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Hornets 92, Bucks 89

In Milwaukee, Marco Belinelli made a career-high six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 22 points.

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